I haven't really decided how to rate this book yet. Maybe I'll be able to make a decision after I write out my thoughts.Even after reading the first book in this series, [b:The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden|16113791|The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden (The Coincidence, #1)|Jessica Sorensen|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1353550763s/16113791.jpg|21930423], as well as both books in Jessica Sorenson's The Secret series, this book was not what I expected. The Coincidence was faster-paced and had lots going on. It tackled some serious issues (rape, child abuse, and bigotry to name a few), but it didn't feel like those issues were the main story being told.Comparatively, The Redemption felt darker. The focus is really on these issues and how they're being dealt with by the characters. It's a slower paced story without much action, per se. I don't want to scare anyone off with these statements though. I think that switching between POVs helps keep the darkness at bay a bit, and there's enough going on to have kept me interested. Which is saying a lot. I get bored easily.Let's talk about the characters. This book focuses a lot more on Kayden's story and how he copes with his father's ultimate betrayal. It tells a lot about his self-mutilation, sometimes with fairly graphic detail, which gives it a really raw & real feel. Even though I was cringing, I felt like I was able to identify with something I've never personally dealt with and don't really understand. I love that Kayden is still Kayden, sweet and strong and caring, but shows a lot of vulnerability. Callie takes on the stronger role in this one, which I also love. She's still struggling with her own issues, but she gradually comes into her own. (Side note: Key word there being gradually; it's nice to not have just one light bulb moment & suddenly the world looks different. Rather, they both go through these issues slowly, take a couple tumbles, but end up on the other side.) Even though she's not sure how exactly to deal with Kayden, she supports him and carries him through some tough times. I won't say much about Seth, other than I love him & he's definitely a little ray of sunshine in this tale. You get to know Luke a little better, and it looks like the third book in this series will be about him. So I'll look forward to that!This book was very nuanced, too. There were some themes that I'm so glad Ms. Sorensen had the wherewithal to include. One being silence. "Silence. Silence. Why is it always about silence? I wish both of us could tell the world and be free from the chains we drag around."Truth.Also, redemption. Merriam-Webster's definition of redeem: to free from what distresses or harms. This book is truly all about redemption. Freedom. Other than me loving that in itself, I cannot tell you how happy it makes me that the title matches what's going on in the book!Something else that I generally enjoy in stories is seeing how different people deal with the same things. With something like rape or abuse, there's not always only one victim. Anyone who cares about the primary victim also has to find a way to cope. Of course, it's still told from Callie & Kayden's eyes, but you do see how these things affect family and friends.There was one thing that bothered me. Both perpetrators in the crimes against Callie and Kayden run away when they realize they're being outed. It seems like the easy way out for the author. Rather than try to decide what would happen to them, or what wouldn't happen to them, they just disappear and we move on. Now that I say that, though, maybe that was the point. She wanted us to be able to just move on and not focus on revenge. hmm.Alright, I think I've talked myself into it. I really liked this book. It was beautifully written and has much more to offer than I expected. I am stopping short of a 5-star rating though. There was just an inexplicable something missing that kept me from loving it. I generally save 5-stars for a book that has me emotionally wrapped up in the characters, crying with them, laughing with them and cheering them on. That visceral connection was just missing for me here.